Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 113: Unfair

This is the 113th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Unfair, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 24th March 2013

Word count: 664

The story:

“So you’re a little late,” Craig said, “What’s it matter?”

“God, your so obtuse,” Sarah said as she hurriedly put on her things, “Your Dad is going to kill me.”

“I’ll have a word with him, I have the old goat wrapped round my finger,” Craig pushed himself down into the Egyptian cotton sheets of the hotel bed. “Trust me.”

“Fine, but you tell him today, before he finds out some other way. I don’t need him to have another excuse to bully me.”

“I give you my word, nothing bad is going to happen.”

Two days later, Sarah was called in to see the boss.

“Ah Sarah, glad you could make it, I know how busy you’re meant to be,” Harrison Kirkpatrick, founder, owner, and managing director of First Chemicals said as Sarah entered the room.

“I’m always happy to make time for the boss Mister Kirkpatrick,” Sarah said as she took a seat in front of the sparse and modest desk.

“I’m sure you know why you’re here,” Harrison said, “So I’ll get right to the point. You’re fired.”

“What? You can’t do that, it’s not fair,” Sarah sputtered, feeling like she’d just been slapped in the face.

“I can and I have,” Harrison said with cold indifference, “And before you phone my son, you should know I’ve talked with him and he agrees. We can’t have a pregnant woman working here.”

“Really, this is too much,” Sarah said rising from her seat in anger, “I’ll contact the union, get a solicitor. You can’t fire someone because they’re pregnant.”

“No, you’re right. But I am doing anyway. So you do what you have to, what you think is best. After you’ve cleared out your workstation and left the premises.”

Sarah stormed out, leaving impassive director to watch on in silence.

“You son of a bitch!” Sarah screamed as she slapped Craig when he entered the hotel room.

“Ow, what was that for?” Craig asked, raising his arms to ward off any other blows.

“You had me fired because I was pregnant. You sick son of a bitch!” Sarah said breaking down into sobs. “Do you know how hard I worked to get to where I was?”

“Yes. I know, and no I didn’t get you fired. Tell me what happened,” he said carefully moving her backwards until she was sat on the bed.

She told him, with some embellishments regarding his father’s behaviour. For his part, Craig just listened.

“So that’s it,” she said finally.

Craig cleared his throat, “Okay, it may have been slightly my fault. The conversation with him didn’t exactly go as well as I’d hoped.” He saw Sarah’s face flush red, and her fist clenched, “But at no point did we discuss firing you. I promise.”

“What did you discuss?”

“Well he was angry, and I said it didn’t matter how or why, things are what they are, and I’d do right by both you and our child.”

“And he said?” Sarah asked.

“Was it right for my child to be developing around all these chemicals and experiments.”

“And you said?” she had a feeling she knew where this was going.

“I said possibly not, but,” he hastily added, “That was for you and I to discuss.”

“And so he fired me? Just like that,” Sarah asked.

“I think it’s a kind of back handed payoff, you bring in a solicitor, and he’ll just give you whatever seems fair.”

“Payoff?”

“Okay, I’m just guessing. He’ll probably try to make it a condition that we don’t see each other again. But I’m not going to let that happen,” Craig said, his hands in the air.

He was surprised when she didn’t explode, instead she sat up and held him close.

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me,” she whispered in his ear.

The first time in his life, Craig felt ready to take on his overbearing, over protective father. Maybe he might even win, he thought.

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